Mahle is to create a global development center for mechatronics in Kornwestheim, near Stuttgart, Germany. According to the company, around 100 engineers will work at the location to develop complex product solutions for electric drive systems, actuators and electric auxiliaries for vehicles with hybrid, hydrogen and battery electric drives.
This development follows on from the company founding a dedicated business unit for electronics and mechatronics at the start of the year, with the technology group expecting sales growth in this business segment to be well into double digits in the next 10 years.
“Our new mechatronics development center is another important step in Mahle’s technological transformation,” explained Wilhelm Emperhoff, member of the Mahle management board and responsible for the Electronics and Mechatronics business unit. “It’s now particularly important that we develop the right know-how and portfolio so that we can emerge from the current crisis in a stronger position as an established technology and development partner in the automotive industry.”
According to the company, the priority areas for the new development center are mechatronics, electrics/electronics, and the programming and software needed for complex product solutions and systems. For example, Mahle flags up its recently developed electric expansion valve (EXV) as the type of product it will focus on. The EXV is used in refrigerant circuits to ensure that the air-conditioning system and the cooling of the traction batteries is optimally controlled. These components will go into series production starting in 2022 and can be used in vehicles with conventional combustion engines as well as in battery electric or hybrid applications.
“Our work here will particularly focus on the development of complete systems. This is an area in which we have a lot of experience – experience that we can combine with our expertise in electric actuators and electronic controls to achieve optimum results,” noted Dr Armin Messerer, head of the global Mechatronics business segment.